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Bristol-based LettUs Grow secures over £375,000 to supercharge horticultural productivity

Bristol-based LettUs Grow secures over £375,000 to supercharge horticultural productivity

SETsquared Bristol member and vertical farming company, LettUs Grow, has secured £347,550 from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the UK’s research and investment organisation, to design and prototype manufacture an advanced aeroponic rolling bench system.

LettUs Grow is a team of growers, engineers, plant scientists, software developers and business experts, who design and build aeroponic technology and farm management software for indoor and vertical farms. They believe careful innovation in farming can make the world a better place.

Its technology reduces the environmental impact of agriculture and makes farmers’ lives easier. It aims to solve grower challenges of competing on cost with imported fresh produce, while achieving net zero for the sector.

The aeroponic rolling bench system will be used for two trials set out to demonstrate productivity increase, the flexibility of growing and the improved resource efficiency of advanced aeroponics (energy, labour, water, nutrients, etc).

LettUs Grow was one of more than 20 projects which together secured a total of £8 million in funding from UKRI, as part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme.

The feasibility projects competition was created to back new and innovative solutions, aid research and collaboration, and encourage collaboration across the UK’s farmers, growers and foresters.

The competition, managed by UKRI’s transforming food production challenge and delivered by Innovate UK, ran from October to December 2021.

It sought applications of up to £500,000 to support the investigation of early-stage solutions that have the potential to improve the sustainability, productivity and resilience of UK farming on a path to net zero.

Projects were required to demonstrate the benefits the concept would generate, as well as how collaboration between farmers, businesses and researchers could be enhanced as a result.

Katrina Hayter, challenge director for the transforming food production challenge, said: “The breadth of areas covered by the successful projects clearly demonstrate just how many issues there are to tackle when it comes to innovating the UK’s food sector.

“What these projects have shown is not simply a standalone solution, but a concept that forms part of a wider picture of improving the overall sustainability and productivity in farming.

“Once again collaboration has been key, with new technology combining with research and in-the-field expertise to help drive these concepts forward.”

As a further part of the Farming Innovation Programme, UKRI has also announced the opening of the research starter round two competition. Tackling early-stage at-farmgate ideas from farmers and growers to solve major problems facing their business, the competition offers up to £1 million.

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